11 November 10 Tune it Up! Why Music Adds ‘Muscle' to Your Workout

Who doesn't like a little background music when we're working out? Many gyms seem to prefer playing (or blasting!) hard rock or heavy metal in harmony with the grunts and clangs from weightlifters. Runners, skiers, cyclists and walkers can often be seen with ear buds dangling from their lobes and attached to an MP3 player. But does having a playlist really power up our routines? The answer, according to research from Costas Karageorghis, an associate professor of sport psychology at Brunel University in England, is a resounding "Yes!"

Karageorghis created the Brunel Music Rating Inventory, which is a questionnaire that asks people to rate the motivational qualities of music as they relate to sport and exercise. For over ten years, Karageorghis has asked participants representing a wide array of demographics to rate a song's motivational qualities based on a 90-second clip. The result: tempo matters!

In fact, the most beneficial tempo for exercising is between 120 and 140 beats-per-minute (BPM), which represents most of today's commercial dance music and a lot of rock. Karageorghis believes that the reason this tempo is so suitable for working out is because it roughly equates to the target heart range for most individuals during exercise.

If you need some inspiration for songs that fall into this BPM range, check out these tunes:

  • “Push It” by Salt-N-Pepa
  • “Drop It Like It’s Hot” by Snoop Dogg
  • "Umbrella” by Rihanna
  • “The Heat Is On” by Glenn Frey
  • “Don’t Phunk With My Heart” by the Black Eyed Peas
  • “Mr. Brightside” by the Killers
  • “Dancing Queen” by ABBA
So it would seem that fast-paced music helps get us going, but does this mean the reverse is true? If we listened to slow (sedative) music when working out, would it actually make us slower or weaker? According to Dr. Len Kravitz at the University of New Mexico, slower music may actually negatively affect out strength. Dr. Kravitz cites an earlier study that tested male and female college students performing aerobics in three different musical environments (stimulative, sedative, silence), which found that those who were listening to sedative music actually underperformed in comparison to those who listened to stimulative music or no music at all. So perhaps it's fair to say, "Go Snoop Dogg or go home!"

Lastly, one of the other obvious benefits of listening to music while exercising is its ability to distract us from negatives, such as fatigue, and it can motivate us to go further because no one wants to stop their workout in the middle of a great song!

So what do you listen to when you exercise? Post your "Top 5" songs that you can't wait to hear during your routine. Who knows, you might find some new tunes!

Ryan Newhouse

Ryan Newhouse is the Marketing Director for MyNetDiary and writes for a variety of publications. He wants you to check out MyNetDiary on Instagram!

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Disclaimer: The information provided here does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit your healthcare provider or medical professional.


Exercise/Aerobic & CardioExercise/Tips Weight Loss/Motivation

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